Robert Sobel, Historian
"What will they think of next!” was a 1920s saying, because new things were continually coming out. And there were new things which you could enjoy, not just for the few. So it was a period of high hope. That’s why the depression was so severe — because we started so high, we fell so low…
[In the 1920s] every part of the economy did well, except for coal mining and certain parts of agriculture. But this was a period in which the American household gets the washing machine, gets a refrigerator, goes off gas light and gets electricity in some cities, in which the family buys a car and goes on a long vacation. This didn’t occur before the 1920s.
In 1920, for the first time, the census showed that a majority of Americans lived in cities. We were becoming an urbanized society. And if you lived in a city in 1925, ’26 or thereabouts, you had all these things going for you. In addition, you were getting your first vacation. People didn’t get vacations before the 1920s. You learned how to buy goods on time, so you didn’t defer your expectations. You were working a five-and-a-half day week, not a six-day week… So things looked pretty good.
The 1968 Democratic National Convention saw a clash of political visions on the convention floor and violence outside on the streets of Chicago.
The story of the American civil rights movement is told through its powerful music -- the freedom songs that protesters sang on picket lines, in mass meetings, in police wagons, and in jail cells as they fought for justice and equality.
The story behind the development of the oral contraceptive that put women in control of birth control.
Thoroughbred racehorse Seabiscuit was the long shot that captured America's heart during the Depression.
William "Buffalo Bill" Cody's legendary exploits helped create the myth of the American West that still endures today.
A marvel of engineering, architecture, and vision, the story of the Beaux Arts structure on 42nd street that forever changed midtown Manhattan.
Bascom Lamar Lunsford and his campaign to preserve mountain music and dance.
Postwar New York City and the global economic order told through the story of the World Trade Center.